The Gila Monster (pronounced /ˈhi�?lə/, HEE-la), Heloderma suspectum, is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is a heavy, slow moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2 feet) long, and is the only venomous lizard native to the United States. Its skin has the appearance of black, pink, orange, and yellow beads, laid down in intricate patterns. These beads are small bony plates that form scales, and are known as osteoderms.
In 2005 the US Food and Drug Administration approved a drug for the management of type 2 diabetes, Byetta (exenatide), a synthetic version of a protein derived from the Gila monster's saliva. The effectiveness is due to the fact that "The lizard hormone is about 50 percent identical to a similar hormone in the human digestive tract, called glucagon-like peptide-1 analog, or GLP-1, that increases the production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high. Insulin helps move sugar from the blood into other body tissues where it is used for energy. The lizard hormone remains effective much longer than the human hormone, and thus its synthetic form helps diabetics keep their blood sugar levels from getting too high.